St. Bernadette with Lourdes Rose by Pat Benincasa

by Sister Julie Ann on February 1, 2008

St. Bernadette with Lourdes RosePat Benincasa paints this portrait entitled St. Bernadette with Lourdes Rose. Pat writes: “How do you paint eyes that have seen Our Lady? How do you paint eyes that have witnessed what words cannot contain? These questions are what went through my mind when painting Bernadette Soubirous of Lourdes.”

From website:

My approach to being an artist is based upon rigorous research, study and my need to take materials beyond conventional use…

I once read something that sums up my art making philosophy. When Martin Heidegger asked: “What is a thing?” and responded that ” You know what a thing is by the way it gathers the world unto itself,” his statement gave me a framework to define what art is. You know what art is by the way it gathers the world unto itself. To this I would add that Art is a point of proximity that dissolves the distinction between our “here and there” as it pulls us toward itself. In this pull we understand how connected we are to all living things. In this connection resides the Sacred.

13 thoughts on “St. Bernadette with Lourdes Rose by Pat Benincasa”

  1. I just wanted to thank you for your elegant presentation of my St. Bernadette painting.
    I am honored to have your attention to my work.

  2. “How do you paint eyes that have witnessed what words cannot contain? These questions are what went through my mind when painting Bernadette Soubirous of Lourdes.”

    The intense gaze of Bernadette in this painting exemplifies this statement. The artist knows that Bernadette came in conact with God through Mary.This puzzled her with many questions and a great deal of mystery.

    I saw this gaze in the face of a young women I was talking with recently. She reminded me of this painting as she questioned and probed what God may be doing in her life.

    I continue to search for the answers to the question of how does one live with the mystery of being in contact with the Sacred in our everyday living?

  3. Pat, your St. Bernadette icon is so perfect! It speaks to the spirit of this youthful visionary and messenger of the Immaculate Conception by testifying to your own contemplation and works of penance in creating this art form. This is true inspiration. Thank you for encouraging us to continue the message of Lourdes by being open to the eternal in our midst!

  4. Kat Stratton says:

    This is a very stunning piece of art work. Many times when I picture different saints being appeared to by Mary, or by angels, or by God, I picture them kneeling, praying, eyes closed, hands folded.

    I am drawn to this painting because this is how I would picture myself seeing Mary or God or angels. Questioning, knowing, believing and feeling unworthy all at the same time. There is a great piece that is reflected in St. Bernadette in this painting, one I am amazed the artist captured. I believe many can relate to this peace, knowing that Mary our Mother and her son Jesus are with us, protecting us, guiding us.

  5. Terri Shurts says:

    There is a passion in St. Bernadette’s eyes: a knowingness, a willingness, and possibly a fearfulness in her eyes.

    But she appears to be strong as well and I think this is most inspiring. Bernadette seems to not just look at me but into me, as if she knows what I feel. She is human and relatable, which is a reminder to me that I too can be a saint.

  6. The look of Bernadette reminds me of how mysterious yet real the spiritual life is. It inspires me how you, like Bernadette, take your spiritual life seriously Kat! May our Blessed Mother continue to show you the way to her Son!

  7. It is wonderful to discover one not only can be a saint but is on the road to becoming a saint! Thank you for looking into the eyes of Bernadette Terri!

  8. Sister Mariella Erdmann says:

    Pat Benincasa icon of “St. Bernadette with Lourdes Rose” is filled with a quiet, but intense spiritual energy. The artist’s statement, “You know what art is by the way it gathers the world unto itself” is so very true. Icons are Windows to the Eternal. They are meant to draw the viewer beyond the image into the realm of the CREATOR. Benincasa’s painting is sensitively rendered and as I look at the eyes of St. Bernadette, I see a person who seems to be looking intently at something and yet beyond. There is something so profound in the painting that draws me to ponder the realities of her life.
    I pray that her works draw others to see and sense God in all created things. What greater compliment than to have one’s art work lead others to ponder the true, the good, and the beautiful in this world and in so doing to discover BEAUTY ITSELF.

  9. One artisan to another…Sister Mariella’s words are from someone who has also gazed, considered and contemplated before she illuminated “a window to the eternal”. Thanks for your comments, Sister.

  10. Pam says:

    Bernadette’s eyes had seen much suffering in relation to the time she grew up and all her family had endured. For her to see before her the radiance of love of our Blessed Mother must have been frightening at first yet at the same time full of peace, love and joy. To gaze upon her eyes, one can see a love that goes deep; a mysterious love that touches the most profound recesses of the soul. Through Mary, our Lord graced Bernadette’s eyes and soul with a love that heaven only knows.

    Around us today, we too see much suffering, for instance, in the recent shootings at NIU, those who suffer the effects of war, or even suffering within our own homes. May our own eyes be graced as Bernadette’s, our soul’s be touched with that same love in the midst of our trials. This may not come through a vision of our Blessed Mother, but perhaps in the splendor of a sunset, in the gentle falling of snow, in the innocence of a child’s smile. God’s goodness does surround us even in those times it is difficult to see.

  11. Your sensitivity to those in need around us is a response to God’s grace present in your life Pam!
    Bernadette helps us to see with the eyes of faith because of the life she chose to live after the apparitions! Her self-gift to God and to the world reflect what she saw. May we all continue to pray for those who are suffering, the college students and families from NIU, and all around our world who are in need of God’s comfort and love.

  12. Jennifer Brannon says:

    I am the amazingly lucky “owner” of Bernadette. When I first saw her, I was transfixed. She is my patroness from Confirmation, and although I have seen plenty of images of her through the years, I had never been moved to obtain one before I saw “my” Bernadette. Pat Benincasa’s Bernadette is exquisite. She looks into your soul, and challenges you to have her steadfast faith during the dark nights of life. You can really feel, in her gaze, that whatever suffering this life may entail, the certain knowledge of what comes after for the faithful is so amazing beyond our imagining, that is all she can see. Her view of life is colored by her vision of Heaven. Pat is a true artist, and I love having a piece of her soul hanging on my wall… and a piece of her family history in the beautiful little Rosary that is part of the painting. (I believe it belonged to her grandfather?) Thank you, Pat. Bernadette is well-loved in our home! Jennifer

  13. What a joy to read your posting Jennifer! You are blessed to have Pat’s “Bernadette” be part of your home! Thank you for sharing from your heart!

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